Florida’s high school graduation rate reached a 15-year high, outgoing Gov. Rick Scott announced on Wednesday.
Scott, who will take a seat in the U.S. Senate next month, pointed to numbers released by the Florida Department of Education. For the 2017-18 school year, the graduate rate rose to 86.1, up almost 4 percent from last year and up 17.1 percent from 2010, the year before Scott took over in Tallahassee.
“I am proud to announce that Florida’s high school graduation rate has once again risen and has reached an all-time high,” Scott said. “Access to quality public education played a critical role in my life, and as a father and grandfather, it has always been important to me that every Florida student has the opportunity to pursue their goals and achieve the American Dream. This accomplishment would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of Florida’s teachers and school administrators. I’m also proud of the work we’ve done to provide record amounts of funding to Florida schools so they can continue to deliver results. I will never stop working to ensure students are prepared to succeed.”
Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart also weighed in on the numbers.
“I could not be more proud of Florida’s students and their educators who have demonstrated unrivaled dedication to excellence. As commissioner, I vowed to be a voice for the voiceless, and that often meant advocating for minority and low-income students whose performance historically fell below that of their white counterparts. Today’s announcement is particularly important because it not only shows across-the-board progress, it highlights success in closing the achievement gap and leveling the playing field for all students,” she said.
“The statewide graduation rate among Black/African American students increased by 16.2 percentage points over the last five years, rising from 64.7 percent in 2013-14 to 80.9 percent in 2017-18,” the governor’s office noted. “The graduation rate gap between white and African American students narrowed by 3.3 percentage points compared to 2016-17; the gap in 2016-17 was 11.4 percentage points, and the gap in 2017-18 is 8.1 percentage points. The statewide graduation rate among Hispanic students increased by 10.1 percentage points over the last five years, rising from 75 percent in 2013-14 to 85.1 percent in 2017-18. The statewide graduation rate among students with disabilities increased by 21.9 percentage points, rising from 55.1 percent in 2013-14 to 77.0 percent in 2017-18. The statewide graduation rate among economically disadvantaged students increased by 14.3 percentage points, rising from 67.7 percent in 2013-14 to 82 percent in 2017-18.”
Kevin Derby can be reached at Kevin.Derby@floridadaily.com.